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SEO Quiz Question – Page Rank Flow and Hash Tag

Recently Rand Fishkin of  SEOMOZ said that the hash tag is a “a very, very powerful SEO tool”.  He suggested that by replacing the “?” in dynamic URLs with the hash tag, he would aggregate incoming “link juice” onto his home page instead of spreading it around the dynamic URLs. Rand stated that “the search engines don’t index anything after the hash” and that via his powerful technique, he was “canonicalizing my link juice… in the eyes of the search engine”.

The SEO Quiz question for this week is two part:

  1. Is this sound SEO advice? In other words, is this GOOD advice? In other words, would it be wise to follow this SEO advice?
  2. Why not?


SEO Quiz Question for the Week

I’m thinking the world needs a new SEO Quiz question each week. So, in time for Monday morning, I present an SEO Quiz for this week:

Q: Does back link power, representing the value of a backlink for high rankings in Google, vary with different keyword spaces or industries? In other words,  is the impact of a backlink dependent on the market, or do backlinks work the across the board?

SEO Quiz Questions You’ll Never See

What better place to put “SEO Questions You’ll never See on an SEO Quiz” than this domain?

Q: How can a senior executive of an SEO company remain up to speed on SEO practices, enough to perform adequately in-person during SEO site review sessions at SEO conferences?

Hint: there is a clue embedded in the crafting of the permalink of this post. And in the mean time while you ponder that question…. click the t-shirt to see how to buy one for yourself!

Visit for more SEO t-shirts.

SEO Quiz: What’s the big number on the top right of a Google page mean?

Q: When you do a Google search, it comes back with a number. It’s a BIG number. The sentence goes something like this:

Results 1 – 10 of about 1,490,000,000 for XXX. (0.03 seconds)

What is that large number (in this case, 1,490,000,000)? Explain your answer.

How Long should a Title Element Be? How Many Keywords?

Q: How many keywords should be stuffed into the title element of a page, for SEO purposes? How long should the title element be, for optimal SEO?

A:  It depends. But first, lets look at what TheExperts say.  SEOMoz says it’s a “title tag” and 65 characters is the limit, because more than that leads to ellipses (like this…) and that Google is accepting 70 characters sometimes. Otherwise they say focus on the user reading it, for things like visitor expectation, repeat the title in an H1, etc. SearchEngineLand says listen to SEOMoz about title tags. Jill over at HighRankings says use the “title tag” for branding (have the company name in there) and then use target keywords. She likes “long” title tags.

Truth is, it is the Title Element (not “tag” and not “attribute”), and it should ” identify the content of the document in a fairly wide context”. It is recommended that the title element be limited to 65 characters (see W3C specification)

Now from a practical SEO perspective, why did I say “it depends”? Because the utility of the title element depends on the context of use. In a non-competitive search market, you can enjoy wonderful success with  lengthy keyword richl title elements. As the SERP gets more competitive, Google seems to consider the keywords in the title element differently than it does in non-competitive SERPs.  You can check this for yourself. Go ahead.. get creative ;-)

In very competitive SERPs, the keyword nature of the title element must be highly focused to have an impact on SEO.  Again, you can test this for yourself. You might find it has no SEO value at all, in which case you focus on the title element as a user invitation since it is displayed in the snippet.

I think this explains the anecdotal evidence highlighted by “experts” when they say things like “the title tag should be short and target your keyword” or “I like long title tags, with separators between keyword rich phrases like breadcrumbs” or “don’t worry about keyword content so much; focus on the user intent and the snippet”. These “experts” are working different markets, and therefore observing different search engine behavior.

In summary, selling viagra on the web? “Viagra” is a good title element for targeting “Viagra”, and “buy viagra online” is a good title element for “where to buy viagra online”, but “lowest prices for immediate delivery of Viagra” might perform the best as it draws the click from the eager viagra buyer. If you are one of two companies selling Polystyrene Left-handed Widgets in the web, however, then “ABC Company – for Polystyrene Left-handed Widgets and Polystyrene Left-handed Widget Accessories” might work very well for you, tying the known brand to the actual product, using mild keyword repetition in that non-competitive SERP with good SEO impact.

Why didn’t I give exact examples of optimal title elements? because SEO is a competitive industry. I don’t want to give you the best answers, because 1. You might be competing with me and 2. If everyone did it the same way, it would no longer work as a competitive tactic.

John Andrews is a search engine marketing specialist and SEO consultant in Seattle Washington.

SEO Quiz

This seo quiz is hilarious. Pole Position SEO Quiz.

(via Sphinn)

SEO Terminology (glossary): SERP

SERP is “search engine results page”. A SERP is the page of results you see after you run a query on a search engine. A Google SERP is a Google result page. A Yahoo! SERP is a Yahoo! results page. SERP 1 is the first page of 10 results. SERP 2 is the second page of the default 10-per page results set. A “competitive SERP” is a results page for a search term where there are strong web pages ranking in the top 10 slots, where it woul dbe difficult for another page to break in if it were not well optimized or highly promoted. The individual entries makingup a SERP are “listings”. SERP position is the position of a listing within the 10 listings on the typical SERP.

Different people refer to SERP position different ways. Since Google started indenting listings that belong to the same domain, the listed order no longer reflects the rank order according to relevance. Therefore it makes sense to number the listings not by their rankorder, but by the order of their relevance ranking. Here’s how John Andrews annotates SERP positions:
A SERP position of 1 means first listing on the first page. A SERP position of 1.2 means the second spot on the first page. A SERP position of 1.2-3 means a domain ranks in the second spot of the first page, and has an indented listing beneath it. A SERP position of 2.1 means the first slot on the second page of results, using the default setting for # listings per page (10 in Google).

An indented listing has actually been moved from some other spot on the same SERP page, so the presence of an indented listign means that subsequent ordered listings may also be displaced from their natural earned positions. t takes a litle work to eliminate the indenting to reveal the true relevance rankings, so we don’t always bother. You’ll know by the reporting. If we report position 1.3-4 and 1.6 it means we are not doing the exra work to tease out the true ranking positions of those listings above 1.3. Position 1.6 is not actually the sixth rank since there is an indented listing above it in the SERP.

To determine the exact relevance rank of an indented listing, you simply need to tell Google to show only 9 results, and then only 8, and then only 7, etc. until the indented listing disappears. It will disappear when it no longer ranks on that new N-listing SERP. Soif it’s still indented when you ask Google to show only 6 results, you know it is within the top 6 listings for relevance. If it’s gone when you ask for only 5, it must have been #6. So if you really need to know exactly what the SERP positions are for your ranking pages, you need to do N-1 repeated search queries for each listing indented at position N. A lot of work, relatively speaking.

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SEO Quiz

Do we really need an SEO Quiz? And if we had one, could anyone defend the correct “answers”?

#67 If they have the same content, the Search Engines will consider and to be the same page.

Your Answer: FALSE

Correct Answer: TRUE

As of September 2007, the answer is TRUE, search engines don’t consider the trailing slash to create a different page (examples here and here).

Hmmmm…. so a search that shows Google did some canonicalizing is proof that trailing slash URL is same as no-trailing slash URL?

Take a look at Google’s Sitemap tool. Look at the inbound links. They are aggregated. But, lo and behold, Google counts links to separately from links to

What does that mean? I would trust evidence like that over what gets displayed in the SERP any day. The SERP is polished. It’s managed. The sitemaps tool is based on Google’s data. Who’s right?

Does it matter who’s right? Sure it does.

A general solution is a solution which always works, under various conditions. Conditions change; still works. To have the trailing slash and no-trailing slash resolve to the same content via a 301 redirect is the general solution. A specific solution is a solution which may work now, but may not work under all conditions. Last year when Google fiddled with canonicalization, it stated thatit was doing clever things to figure out when to recognize issues like this one used as an example in the SEOmoz SEO Quiz. Visual observation of the Google SERPs today does not prove anything, because no one knows how Google processes it’s own internal page data to generate that view, or whether or not Google does those same “machinations” when working with other parts of TheAlgorithm, like ranking factors.

But what if Google told us they are the same? Then does it not matter? No. Because if it were true that the trailing slash doesn’t matter, why did the webmaster console tool show them separately? That is a clue. The general solution is the safer bet.

I failed that question on the SEOMoz SEO Quiz. So I suppose I am not as good an SEO as those SEOmoz people who were familiar with the claims offered to justfy the “correct” answer. Pity me, ok?